Thursday, 30 October 2014

Ten Things To Do to Become a Successful Runner-Entrepreneur

Today's post is written by Justine Dolorfino, the marketing manager for The Undress, a fashionable and functional mobile changing room. She ran sprints in high school, transitioned to 5Ks in college, and graduated to longer distances in 2013 before completing her first half marathon in 2014. She also enjoys weightlifting and hiking. 
Have you ever looked at a product and thought, ‘I could have thought of that!’? Why not give it a shot?

We’ve learned a lot while developing The Undress, a dress that helps female runners change into or out of their running gear (or any outfit!), anywhere, without ever getting naked! Entrepreneurship is a lot of hard work, but here are ten things that you can do to set yourself up to become a successful runner-entrepreneur!
  1. Look for solutions: Take the first step towards entrepreneurship by always keeping an open mind. Recognize the problems and annoyances you experience during your day-to-day life and try to visualize how you could make it easier.
  2. Get inspired by your passion: The idea for The Undress came suddenly after a group run, when Dennis noticed just how many women were changing out of their race gear under towels, in dirty restrooms or portapotties, or in their cars. Take the solution-hunting exercise one step further and apply it to running, specifically. What are the problems and annoyances you’ve experienced while running? What solutions can you think up?
  3. Do your research: Once you have your idea, learn more about how you can make it a reality. What are the risks and challenges? What will it take to build your product? How can you protect your invention with a patent? What products are already out there that solve your problem and how does yours differ?
  4. Work with a team: You can go it alone - but you don’t need to! Surround yourself with like-minded, talented people you can work with and put your minds together. Each person can play to their strengths and do what they do best!
  5. Take the time to do it right: We spent nine months developing The Undress before we launched our Kickstarter campaign. It was worth it, too; we learned more about making a better product and what we needed to do!
  6. Understand who will buy your product: One of the best things about being a runner-entrepreneur who creates solutions for fellow runners is that you already have a head start! But besides you and your friends, who would be interested in your invention -- and why?
  7. Connect with fellow runners: Are you in a running club? What about a Meetup or Facebook Group? Local runners are future friends and training buddies. They’re also potential product testers and promoters for you and your start-up!
  8. Don’t be afraid of criticism: We went through several different versions of The Undress before settling on our design. Testers’ feedback was invaluable, too. It’ll help you take a step back and look at your product with a fresh pair of eyes.
  9. Decide how you’ll fund your project: Will you invest your own money in manufacturing? Or perhaps you’ll take out a loan or shop for investors? Crowd-funding on Kickstarter may be right for you!
  10. Never stop running: It’s easy to devote all of your time to your start-up. Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Running is YOUR TIME! Besides… you never know what you’ll dream up on your next run!
The Undress looks like a fantastic product and I can think of many occasions when it would have been useful for me. Justine has worked really hard to produce a product that has so many applications. I hope to get my hands on one soon. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise Justine!

Are there any products you wish existed?

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